Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Hello, Goodbye
2007-02-18 14:38
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Last fall, when Emily and I got a cat, a friend at work told me that she once had a cat that she loved very much. She said that once it died she never got another one. It was simply too painful for her to get a pet knowing that she would likely out-live it. I had animals around my house when I was growing up--cats and dogs--but I haven't owned one as an adult. But in no time, I've grown attached to our charming little cat, Tashi. I had to board her at the vet's late last week before I trooped up to Vermonth to meet-up with Emily at her folks' place for the weekend. I asked to see the vet where Tashi would be staying and was shown to the basement where the boarding animals stay. Dude, I had to hold back the tears, and when I got home, I burst-out bawling like a baby.

Loss has been foremost on my mind recently. My dad had a heart attack one month ago and he died the following day. I miss him dearly.

I've been thinking about ol' Bernie Williams this weekend, about how much I'm going to miss him--that is to say, if he's really gone. It's not so much his production, or lack thereof, that I'll miss, but him. Of course, I don't know him personally, but I've watched the majority of his big league games and have grown accustomed to his face, his swing, his mannerisms, his gestures. It isn't the big things but the nuances, the details.

I love the continuity baseball offers. Each year, guys get too old and retire, while new guys come up and offer us something new to admire. If you've been a fan for a long time--as most of us have been--you see the professional life and death of many players. Sometimes, it is soothing to see a familiar face just because they are familiar, and nothing else. I thought of this last week when I read that Steve Trachsel was signed by the Orioles. I find his games almost intolerable to watch, he pitches so damn slowly. Otherwise I have no particular feelings about him. But I am used to him. Knowing that there is a chance that, months from now, in the middle of summer, he'll be involved in one of those agonizing Yankee-Oriole, four-hour-plus slugfests, is strangely comforting.

2007-02-18 15:18:15
1.   Bob Timmermann
One man's opinion: hire a professional catsitter.

Tashi will appreciate it.

2007-02-18 15:45:43
2.   yankz
Wasn't it Giamatti who said, "Baseball is meant to break your heart"? I'll miss Bernie too, but that's baseball. Bad stuff happens, and it keeps going on.
2007-02-18 16:15:48
3.   bill73083
Thanks for that piece about Bernie. This is the first article I've read about Bernie Williams that didn't mention that Yankee fans will miss Bernie, but since he's old its good that he's leaving. Sometimes its okay to miss someone simply because they're going to be gone.
2007-02-18 16:38:02
4.   underdog
Y'know, this'll sound strange but I've always thought Bernie is a good name for a cat. Maybe if you get another cat he can be called Bernie (Williams). I always choke up just when I leave my cats alone in my apt. (even with a daily catsitter checking on them) for a trip, and when I did board a cat once I felt the same way you did, Alex.

I think my next cat will be named Fernando (if he's oveweight and rolls his eyes toward the ceiling a lot).

2007-02-18 17:24:09
5.   Knuckles
I've been meaning to do a blog for a while now, but most of the analysis is better tackled elsewhere. I may have found my niche. Comments welcome...

2007-02-18 17:50:53
6.   das411
Mike Lieberthal has been a Phillie since I was in elementary school. I know the DTers may not quite appreciate him (or for that matter the Wolfman) the same way we do but it will certainly be strange not having him around anymore...
2007-02-18 19:18:55
7.   Peter
I never thought about it until now, but Bernie's been a Yankee for more than half my life. While I'm of the opinion that it's time to move on, it's going to be strange not seeing him around anymore. Reading Pete Abraham's post the other day about someone else (Jose Veras?) taking over Bernie's locker really shook me.

I was actually at the Stadium the day he made his mlb debut. I didn't know who he was, but I remember his very first big league hit and the subsequent message flashing across the jumbotron.
Later on, after the game, my brother and I were hanging around the press gate hoping to get autographs. I, of course, was really waiting for Mattingly when Bernie walked out with Roberto Kelly. Nobody said anything to him and he quietly slipped away to the parking lot. I overheard a man standing near me say, "Hey, that's that new kid, Bernie Williams."
If only we had known then what we know now...

2007-02-18 19:27:15
8.   Peter
5 I don't have a Google account so I can't leave a comment, but that Schilling/Matsuzaka panel made me laugh out loud. I'm looking forward to more.
2007-02-18 19:53:26
9.   yankz
5 They were all hilarious. The Cash$ one was my favorite. Keep up the good work.
2007-02-18 20:02:00
10.   kdw
5 Love the art. Cashman one is too funny. More please.
2007-02-18 20:21:36
11.   Rich
I'm sorry about your father, Alex.
2007-02-18 20:28:30
12.   dianagramr

Nice work!

2007-02-18 21:43:43
13.   Chyll Will
5 "Clever... smarter than the average runaway!"

Go Knuckles!

2007-02-18 23:45:19
14.   Mike T
A few weeks ago I busted out my "Ultimate Jordan" DVD, and threw it in the player. Michael Jordan was my favorite player growing up. I had the poster of his dunk from the foul line in the dunk contest, his rookie card, his shoes, etc. It was nice to reminisce about the simply inhuman things he used to do on a basketball court. Michael was a judge last night for the dunk contest at All-Star Saturday night here in Vegas. He also turned 44 yesterday. He is showing his age now too. Not that he looks "old", or what we mere mortals would tag as looking old, but it is quite a juxtaposition to look at the 44 yr old Mike and imagine the Mike 20 yrs his junior who could touch the top of the backboard. There are plenty of young guns in the NBA now who will someday be legends, but there is always that part of you that wishes the legends you grew up with would never grow old, and instead would be able to play the game forever.

We have to appreciate every Yankee game we watch, because someday Jetes, Bernie and Mo won't be suiting up for the Bombers anymore, and we will miss them dearly.

2007-02-19 01:36:22
15.   BklynBmr
5 I know it's early, but if 'BronxComix' is not added to 'The Rookies' listing on the sidebar pronto, I'm demanding an investigation!

Great work, Knuckles. As you say, most angles about blogging the Yankees are being covered, so kudos for the creativity. Looking forward to more...

2007-02-19 05:12:03
16.   Sliced Bread
Beautiful piece, Alex.
Hang in there.

Get back, Bernie. Get back to where you once belonged.

2007-02-19 05:20:58
17.   Sliced Bread
Excellent stuff, Knuckles. Looks slick. Keep up the great work.
2007-02-19 06:13:50
18.   unpopster
5 Knuckles, if your first few panels are any sign of what we have to look forward to this season from you, BronxComix is making my daily "Yankee Read List" pronto...

nice, very nice...keep up to good work.

2007-02-19 06:17:08
19.   unpopster
BTW everyone, see this little tidbit from today's Journal News:

"Same old story: Carl Pavano spent much of the winter working with a personal trainer in Arizona, but he bailed out of several drills late in the workout complaining of "heavy legs," according to Yankees manager Joe Torre. Pavano still is scheduled to throw his bullpen session today."

Well, the NEW Pavano did't last very long, did it?

2007-02-19 06:30:18
20.   vockins
19 I saw that. That dude is a piece of work.

I don't care if doesn't let anyone on base for the whole of spring training. That guy has to go.

2007-02-19 07:02:00
21.   Knuckles
I wonder if Pavano's heavy legs have anything to do with the fact that he's walking around with forty million stolen dollars in his pockets...

And thx for all the positive responses to my entry into the blogosphere. I was playing around with my (fairly) new iMac this weekend, resolving to start taking advantage of the fact that it's an Apple, and not a PC, and came across that sweet Comic Life program. In the words of Michael Scott, I had an epiphery. Hoping to update it 4-5 times a week, and really looking forward to incorporating my own spring training photos after I get back from Tampa in a couple weeks.

2007-02-19 09:11:12
22.   nemecizer
You know what? I think A-Rod had a breakthrough in therapy or something. Shrinks often say that acceptance and admitting the truth is the big first step to recovery.

2007-02-19 09:14:20
23.   nemecizer
19 You're kidding me. Already?

Fuck Carl Pavano. Fuck him right in the ear.

You know what? Don't trade him. Keep him on the team for the next two years, on the bench. Make him the ball boy. Make sure he never pitches anywhere else every again.

"Heavy legs" my ass. Fuck that guy.

2007-02-19 09:18:01
24.   nemecizer
5 That's really good, Knuckles. Keep it up, I've bookmarked your page.
2007-02-19 09:26:56
25.   The Mick 536
Try to remember the difficulty that Bernie had last year getting to the ball and throwing the ball. It will derail any nostalgic feelings.

Just cannot believe the ado. Wish more people were up in arms about the black bands for a guy whose playing time didn't earn him a sympathy card or a flag flown at half mast. Commmme onnnn nowww. Cory and his teacher were joy riding over the city. Many people could have died as a result of their daredeviling.

When I see the memento, what am I supposed to reflect upon? I mean, like what did the guy do that I should be thinking about? Did he win a big game? Throw a no-no? Strike out the side? Donate a kidney? Break the color barrier?

Why not wear a band to honor Hank Bauer or Buck O'Oneil?

Not to change the subject too drastically, but the Unit should hope he doesn't make the All-Star team and have to be announced at the Stadium, eh.

2007-02-19 09:27:36
26.   yankz
22 That's a pretty good read. I sincerely hope Arod shatters some records in the next few years.
2007-02-19 09:38:48
27.   rbj
Yeah, nice article:
"When he was first asked about Jeter, Rodriguez said this would be the only time he would address the topic.

"Let's make a contract: You don't ask me about Derek anymore, and I promise I'll stop lying to all you guys," A-Rod told reporters."

Very interesting.

IIRC, I think I read in the Bill James Historical Abstract that Tinkers, Evers 7 Chance didn't speak to each other for years.

Oh, and good job Knuckles.

2007-02-19 10:20:45
28.   Mike T
5 As they say in the Guinness commercials: Brilliant!
2007-02-19 11:25:47
29.   Jim Dean
PeteAbe has the audio but it's belated from what the article includes. It sorta seems like Alex addressed it before most fo the cameras got there then said just enough to make everyone happy. The last Q&A is really good as he says he was embarrassed by having to bat 8th, it's not his job to question the move, and that he had to look in the miror and figure out what he did to deserve it.

The best quote: When asked - "Why now?", the reply: "It's time to cut the bullshit."

Unfortuntely it's going to all live for another day since Jeter and Torre had already left Legends Field.

2007-02-19 11:34:56
30.   tommyl
19 Seriously? Already?! Well maybe I should make Pavano my role model. I was going to go to the gym after work today but my arms are still a bit sore from lifting on Saturday. Maybe I'll stay home and get a hot pocket instead. Thanks Carl!
2007-02-19 12:49:42
31.   nemecizer
29 I thought that was a pretty good interview. I liked how he kept repeating "I want to be a New York Yankee". A-Rod seems fired up, especially when he admitted that he was upset about being batted 8th.

Man I hope he gets it together this year, gets a ring, and all the "A-Rod is not a true Yankee" nonsense goes away. With Phil Hughes coming up I want A-Rod on the team in '08.

2007-02-19 13:29:24
32.   Jeteupthemiddle
I don't think the Pavano thing is a big deal.

When I get back from the gym after I haven't gone in a year + I hurt and need to rest the next day.

He was supposed to remain on schedule and throw a bullpen session today. Assuming he did that, it is a non-issue for me.

Him missing fielding drills for typical aches after exertion is only a problem if it continues all spring.

2007-02-19 13:33:29
33.   tommyl
32 Wasn't he doing this massive offseason fitness program though? Seems to me that he should be in better shape than the rest of the pitchers there, whereas he seems to be the only one complaining. Look, I'm not there, I have no idea, but it seems to spark with Moose's comments that other players just keep going and Pavano seems to stop the second any part of his body doesn't feel perfect.
2007-02-19 13:39:23
34.   Jeteupthemiddle
And that's fine.

I'm just saying, I'm gonna let yesterday go assuming everything else this spring goes on as planned.

2007-02-19 13:45:34
35.   Shaun P
We ought to refer to Pavano as "Cliche Carl" - for obvious reasons.

Props to A-Rod for finally speaking reality - and I can't wait to hear what Jeter's response is.

And lastly - 5 Knuckles, that is some fantastic stuff you've got!

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